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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I am debating on upgrading my sound card on my PC...but Im not sure if it'll make a noticeable difference. Most of the music I listen to comes from the pc, however it's mostly MP3 format...some flac but not a lot. I have a Denon AVR-2310CI in which I can use the "restorer" feature which brightens things up if you will. Im wondering if upgrading my sound card is worth the money? Or is it redundant because it's all going through the receiver anyway? Any input would be much appreciated. Also while Im on the topic is cd quality usually 320kbps? 

 

My set up (if it matters):

Denon AVR-2310CI

JBL Northridge speakers (E30's, E20's, EC35)

Velodyne DLS-4000R 12"

Older Quadcore PC (got a cheap videocard off newegg w/HDMI for audio/video...using that for sound & video transport right now)...also has on board optical (I wonder if this is superior for sound?)
 

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I'm almost certain that since you are using an AVR than the onboard sound does not make any difference.  I believe that the quality of onboard audio, soundcards included, makes the difference when you are sending audio out straight to a powered monitor, headphones, or a computer speaker set.  

 

The HDMI will be superior to the optical, in other words, you will not be able to send HD audio via optical.  Has to be via HDMI.  That is another reason why I think it wouldn't benefit from a soundcard.  With that said, I do believe video cards do support different audio formats and features.  You might play around with it to see what sounds the best for your situation.  
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

That makes sense, but one question comes to mind. If that's the case then why do they sell "dedicated cd transport". Like $1200 cd players. I'd imagine any cd player reads the cd the same and sends the same signal to the receiver, I wonder if there's a card that processes the cd before it gets to the receiver. That's kind of what Im wondering when it comes to a sound card. If it processes the sound coming out of the computer before it gets to the receiver...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by egurz  /t/1520691/upgrading-sound-card-for-mp3-use-is-it-worth-it#post_24433953


That makes sense, but one question comes to mind. If that's the case then why do they sell "dedicated cd transport". Like $1200 cd players. I'd imagine any cd player reads the cd the same and sends the same signal to the receiver, I wonder if there's a card that processes the cd before it gets to the receiver. That's kind of what Im wondering when it comes to a sound card. If it processes the sound coming out of the computer before it gets to the receiver...

Googling "dedicated CD Transport" reveals that there are a lot of clowns out there with a lot of money who think they can tell the difference between various CD's and systems, and they seem to debate one another endlessly about it. That there are, apparently, people out there dumb enough to drop $1200 on a CD player probably explains the fact that there are companies out there with $1200 CD players actively marketing to them. Rich dumb people are a Marketing guy's wet dream.


I don't really care where the processing is done.. the end result will sound no different. The quality of your reciever will have the biggest impact on the quality of your sound. Second biggest impact will be how the mp3's were encoded. Quality of mp3's varies tremendously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Yeah you know I did google dedicated cd players. Came up with dedicated cd player and DAC threads. People debating endlessly on weather they can tell the difference or not. Same with power conditioners....(seems like hype too...besides surge protection feature). I guess I might need to upgrade to towers up front...doesn't seem like Im getting as full of a spectrum as I would like to get. Thought the sound card might change that...but I guess a speaker upgrade should do the trick. So if Im understanding correctly the PC sends codec via HDMI/optical which the receiver decodes and sends out the sound signal to the speakers. Essentially the receiver is the sound card in my case. Does the same thing apply for video card/video? Like if I have a cheap video card vs and expensive on as long as Im streaming through my receiver it'll make no difference? My receiver has a video processing card, can't remember which one...it was one of the good one's when I was buying it. 
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock  /t/1520691/upgrading-sound-card-for-mp3-use-is-it-worth-it#post_24434078



Googling "dedicated CD Transport" reveals that there are a lot of clowns out there with a lot of money who think they can tell the difference between various CD's and systems, and they seem to debate one another endlessly about it. That there are, apparently, people out there dumb enough to drop $1200 on a CD player probably explains the fact that there are companies out there with $1200 CD players actively marketing to them. Rich dumb people are a Marketing guy's wet dream.


I don't really care where the processing is done.. the end result will sound no different. The quality of your reciever will have the biggest impact on the quality of your sound. Second biggest impact will be how the mp3's were encoded. Quality of mp3's varies tremendously.
Agreed... futhermore, the format will make a difference.  MP3 will sound different than a lossless format like WMA lossless.  

 

Like I said, I think that the soundcard plays a tremendous difference when you are sending audio directly to a powered monitor or a powered computer speaker set-up like Klipsch Pro Media etc.  

 

Another thing that a soundcard "may" do is limit the amount of processing the CPU has to do in regards to processing audio from its source.  This becomes particularly beneficial (I think... disclaimer) with modern PC video games.  To give you an example, I have a Logitech 5.1 set-up, which I was unable to utilize the full 5.1 surround benefit from my on board audio (cannot remember the Realtek chipset number)... when I bought the Creative Audigy 4 I was able to then have 5.1 surround sound and the quality of the audio improved dramatically.  

 

I am in the mist of building an HTPC where I intend to run HDMI directly to my AVR.  I will opt for the HDMI option (thus my CPU will be in-charge of the audio) via the Realtek 1150 chipset due to the fact that this will be the only way to get HD audio (DTS-HD etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Didn't get that last part about hd dts. Right now if I play a movie on my pc that has DTS codec my receiver says "DTS" and plays the full surround. However if Im playing a movie that's just stereo the receiver plays just that...stereo. Can you elaborate on that last statement? 
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010  /t/1520691/upgrading-sound-card-for-mp3-use-is-it-worth-it#post_24434753


I am in the mist of building an HTPC where I intend to run HDMI directly to my AVR.  I will opt for the HDMI option (thus my CPU will be in-charge of the audio) via the Realtek 1150 chipset due to the fact that this will be the only way to get HD audio (DTS-HD etc.)

If you are using HDMI then you won't be using the Realtek 1150.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by egurz  /t/1520691/upgrading-sound-card-for-mp3-use-is-it-worth-it#post_24435087


Didn't get that last part about hd dts. Right now if I play a movie on my pc that has DTS codec my receiver says "DTS" and plays the full surround. However if Im playing a movie that's just stereo the receiver plays just that...stereo. Can you elaborate on that last statement? 
Yes, right now you would technically be able to send any "digital" non-HD source via s/pdif or analog to your AVR.this includes Dolby Digital and DTS. You won't, however, be able to send HD audio via and cabling other than HDMI. Let me tell you... There is an ASTONIMICAL difference between the two, just like there is a huge difference between BD movies and DVD movies.


In order to recieve and decode HD audio your AVR must be able to support it. My AVR says DTS-HD MSTR AUDIO when it is recieving and decoding it. Only from BD movies though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

So that's like HDCD type deal? Not for movies right, just for a certain type of audio format? 
 

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If you are using HDMI then you are not using a sound card at all. Modern day video cards and CPU's have there own audio device built in.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by egurz  /t/1520691/upgrading-sound-card-for-mp3-use-is-it-worth-it#post_24435701


So that's like HDCD type deal? Not for movies right, just for a certain type of audio format? 
No.... HD audio is encoded within most BD movies. According to Wiki you have 1 of 3 options to send that encode to your AVR (assuming your AVR is compliant) for decoding:


DTS-HD Master Audio may be transported to AV receivers in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 channels, at lossless quality, in one of three ways depending on player and/or receiver support:


Over 6, 7 or 8 RCA connectors as analog audio, using the player's internal decoder and digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

Over HDMI 1.1 (or higher) connections as 6-, 7- or 8-channel linear PCM, using the player's decoder and the AV receiver's DAC.

Over HDMI 1.3 (or higher) connections as the original DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream, with decoding and DAC both done by the AV receiver.


This is specific to BD movies... The BD movie software (i.e. TMT etc.) will have a ton of options for how the audio is processed (it's pretty straight forward) like lossless, PCM, bitstream (I'm probably being redundant but this is a new hobby for me too:)


Music is likely a similar situation when a PC is outputting to a modern day AVR. The AVR is the "sound card".
 
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